For college student Brandy Zapata, Kentucky Fried Chicken means more than finger-lickin' goodness. Winning a KFC scholarship can have more benefits than just paying for school. For Zapata, the Colonel's Scholars program offered her a chance to travel the world on a KFC scholarship.
Her journey began In 2007 when she started working on her scholarship application plan.
"I applied for around 30 to 40 scholarships my senior year of high school and one of those happened to be the KFC scholarship," said Zapata. She'd been researching scholarships on the internet, doing Google searches on corporations she thought might offer them. By luck, she stumbled upon KFC. "It was one of the few that was a general scholarship and based its selections on academics," she said.
Zapata had been active in her school and community throughout middle and high school. "Start early and be consistent," she advises. When it comes to essays, students should sell their assets to scholarship judges. "When writing about your achievements and dreams don't be shy or hesitant," she said. "Scholarship essays are the opportunities we have to tell about ourselves as young students working hard and all the things we love to be involved with."
In 2009, she was contacted by KFC and invited to sing the national anthem in Las Vegas for a franchisees' conference. While there, she met a franchise owner from Australia as well as KFC's president and chief concept officer. The men proposed having her come to Australia to work with the communication and marketing department. For the next two weeks, she toured KFC offices in Sydney and Melbourne, becoming familiar with the communication, marketing and advertising aspects of the business. She had an opportunity to work with Ogilvy Advertising, home of some of the best-known advertising campaigns around the world, go backstage at Australia's popular Channel 7 Sunrise, and record a mock commercial at a radio station.
When she wasn't taking a whirlwind tour of the advertising behind the chicken giant, she soaked up local culture. There was a show at the Sydney Opera House, the koalas and kangaroos at the Taronga Zoo, and a guided tour of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Each KFC scholar is matched with a volunteer mentor from among KFC franchisees, KFC employees, and other KFC "family" members. The mentors work to keep the students connected during their college tenure and seeks to afford them connections that will fit their unique interests and needs.
Which will help Zapata as she plans for her future.
"After college I would like to use my degree to hopefully get a job as a news anchor," she said. "It would be great to work for CNN, but I would also love working as a host for something like the Morning Show or Today Show. The opportunities that have arisen this far have really opened my eyes and I'm so grateful to KFC. It's been a fantastic experience and I can't wait to see what's next."
Applications for a KFC scholarship can be submitted in December. Keep up to date on the scholarship by visiting its Facebook page.
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